Transforming the Customer Experience

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How Bad Customer Service Slashes Your Sales and What to Do About It

Bad customer service – we’ve all experienced it. The receptionist that seems impatient with us on the phone. The server at the restaurant that is condescending and rude, thus ruining our dining experience. The clerk at the store that seems to think we are invisible and rolls her eyes when we actively try to get her attention.

Poor customer service is rampant these days. It’s one of the most vocalized complaints on Facebook and Twitter. Business leaders and owners know that it is a big issue, yet few take any action to correct it, much less know HOW to correct it. They tell themselves that the offenders “are really very good people.” “They’ve been with us forever.” “They have a lot going on in their personal lives.” “It’s just a phase.”

While most of us dislike having to face negative facts, we just have to. The impact of poor customer service on your business is more than just the occasional upset customer.

Customers leave because of bad service. That’s it. Plain and simple. 70% of your lost customers have stopped doing business with you simply because someone within your company treated them rudely, indifferently, or barely acknowledged them. It has nothing to do with your product or price. Someone just didn’t deliver a smile, use their name, or engage. They just processed them through your system.

It lowers the standard of customer service in your company. No matter how well you train your staff, if you allow poor service to continue by one or more of your employees, it will slowly erode the level of service experienced by your customers.  The coworkers of negative employees will slowly start to slip in their own actions and will likely display lower levels of service than their norm. By allowing poor service to continue, you send the message to your staff that the customer experience and service skills are not important enough for you to address.

You’ll lose your best employees. The employees that are the best representatives for your company and pride themselves on the way they help your customers will soon be so uncomfortable in the environment that they will seek employment in a different department or, worse yet, another company. These are the people your customers know, like, and trust and want to continue working with. Once they leave, you’ll also lose some customers.

What to do about it…

Train Well. Be sure that you have clearly identified customer service level expectations and specifically train your staff how achieve these standards.

Coach to Success. Should you identify someone not meeting these minimum expectations, immediately be proactive and coach them on the necessary skills to guide them.

Free Up Their Future. Sometimes folks just can’t consistently meet the minimum expectations of customer service. After you’ve coached them with unsatisfactory improvement, you must help them find another position, preferably in another company. These are hard conversations to have, but your profits depend on them. You’ll also notice morale will quickly increase in the impacted department.

For help on training your staff to deliver great customer service consistently, my Excellent Service Skills: Start to Finish training package will give you everything you need, step by step. Don’t let the service your staff delivers drive customers away. Let your service reputation be the reason your customers WANT to do business with you.

Customer Service – The POSITIVE Impact

The POSITIVE Impact of Customer Service…

I typically let you know how much poor customer service is COSTING your company.
This week, my news is much more positive and I can show you to make them work for you.  So, here’s the low down…
70% of customers cite the MAIN reason they stop doing business with a company is ONLY because of how they were treated.  They were ignored, treated rudely or indifferent, and just felt like they didn’t matter to the company.  So, they left.  Those 70% are looking for companies to treat them well.  Companies like YOURS!
2% increase in customer retention has as much of an impact on your bottom line as cutting costs by 10%.
Almost 9 out of 10 consumers say they’d pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. – American Express, 2011
Some studies suggest that they’d pay up to 24% more for that superior experience.
70% of the buying experience is directly tied to how the customer feels they are being treated. – McKinsey
A man without a smiling face should not open a shop“- Chinese Proverb
So I’ve got just what you need to get started having these numbers impact your business in a positive way by showing you what you need to start improving that service customers are so desperately looking for.
By the way, the most requested improvement (40%) in the buying experience was …. wait for it…. BETTER HUMAN SERVICE.
Okay, enough with the numbers.  You get the point.  You need to work with your teams to engage, connect, and work with customers in a way that impresses and delights them.
The best part is… you don’t have to figure any of it out on your own!  I’ve done the work for you and outlined exactly how to improve the service your staff delivers to drive your customer loyalty numbers and profits higher than ever before.
My Excellent Customer Service: Start to Finish package is JUST WHAT YOU NEED!
Want happy and smiling employees that customers WANT to work with?  This package shows you how to make that happen.
Want to be sure your customers are getting CONSISTENT great service?  This program shows you how.
Now, I have sold this package for $167, but I’m especially grateful that you’ve been part of my community and am lowering the price to just $67 for one week only.  This is your chance to grab it before the price goes up again.
I’ve also sweetened the deal to include some great bonuses that are guaranteed to give you tools and strategies to kick up your customer service more than you’d expect.
So click here… Excellent Customer Service: Start to Finish to get immediate access and impress your customers and clients with the service your business delivers.
Remember the retail adage – customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price.
 
Helping you focus on your customers,

Customer Service – Can You Be TOO Nice and Scare Customers Away?

Is it possible to be TOO nice as a Customer Service Rep?

Can being TOO nice scare people off? A client of mine asked this question of me yesterday during a workshop and it gave everyone pause for thought.

My response….

Yes and No.  I know, I sound all “lawyer-y”, but it really is true.  There are a few things to consider…

Customers are SO impressed when they find someone who is genuinely nice to them, engages with them, works to solve their problem, or answer their question, that in their mind, it is nearly impossible to be TOO nice.

There are some caveats to this though…

Nice must be GENUINE – Folks can pick up insincerity in a heartbeat.  If you are “saccharine” sweet, it turns people off right away.  This can be in your tone of voice, the words you use, or basically seeming like a grandmother that is offering a child too many sweets and coddling.

Now on the other hand, those CSR’s that are truly wanting to help their customers, ask the right probing questions to truly understand the situation are also most likely those that will …

  • Take conversational cues from their customers and use those as an opportunity to have a short conversation with them about the weather, their business, recent vacation, etc.
  • They’ll use appropriate humor.
  • They’ll make it a goal to have the customer smiling within 60 seconds of working with them.
  • They’ll use a tone of voice that is warm, friendly, and sincere.
  • They’ll typically talk to the customer as if they are a personal friend of theirs using the same tones.
  • They’ll make the effort to connect on a personal level and get to know them.

So in our discussion, I suggested to my client that while it is hard to ask someone to “dial back the niceness,”  it is completely appropriate to be sure that the words being used are professional.

Example…  You have someone on your team who refers to everyone, even customers, as “Honey” or “Sweetie.”  This would be when you would want to guide them to avoid using those words as they are crossing the professional line and many people are offended when those not in their personal circle refer to them that way.  Those words are also very offensive when said to someone older than the person speaking.  It comes across as condescending and flippant and you’ll lose customers.

This is one of the many reasons why I created training for basic Customer Service Skills for your customer facing folks with my “Excellent Customer Service Skills –
Start to Finish
 now being offered at a special reduced rate. 

Get this training now before I decide to raise the price again and CLICK HERE.

Excellent Customer Service is PROACTIVELY Connecting the Dots

One of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction and to improve the customer service skills your staff delivers is to encourage your staff to proactively “Connect the Dots” for your customers.

Customers are looking to service and product providers not only to help make the purchase, but to help them accomplish their goals as quickly as possible.  This may be considered managing their expectations better, asking better questions during the initial sales or consultation, or walking them through the process, but ultimately it is connecting the dots of the entire process to make life easier for your customer.

Case in point, a client of mine recently repainted his daughter’s room.  He decided to do the job himself and headed off to the home improvement big box store.  On his first trip, the employee helped him purchase a gallon of the right color paint, handed him some painter’s tape since he said there would be a design his daughter wanted on the wall, and suggested a paint roller.  He headed home and began painting.  He became a bit frustrated when he had to use three strips of  tape to get the desired width of color blocking and when the paint did not cover as much area as he’d hoped it would.

He headed back to the store and another employee helped him find what he needed.  But this experience was different.  This employee asked him questions about the project and then proceeded to give him the same brand of painter’s tape that was  wider to reduce the amount of tape needed, gave him a larger quantity of paint, told him how to ensure the best coverage with a better roller, and gave him a few paint stirrers since my client mentioned that he’d had to use his wife’s wooden spoon to stir the paint.  He also talked about the pros and cons of using an edger versus a paint brush to handle the corners and edges.

The point here is that the first employee helped my client, but only extended the bare minimum effort necessary.  He was able to start the job, but with large amounts of frustration.  The second employee asked a few more questions, then helped him assemble everything he needed to complete the job easily with no additional trips to the store.  When my client told me about the tape, he said “It never occurred to me that there were two different widths of painter’s tape.  I just wish the first person had offered me the choice and I would have picked the second one.  I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

Being proactive means letting the customer know everything you feel they need to based on their reason for consulting you.  It means letting them know who will be contacting them next to move the process along and what they need to do in the meantime to prepare.  It means not making your customer feel like they are at fault for not knowing things that are your job to educate them on.

Customer loyalty and satisfaction increase when customer service includes thinking one step ahead for your customers and helping them connect the dots of the entire process.

Get the Feedback From Your Teams Improves Customer Service

You Gotta Listen!
Continuing on with Customer Service Week, we are focusing on encouraging our internal teams to foster the customer centric attitudes and service.
 
Tip # 4 – Get Feedback from Your Teams and Staff to Find Out What They Need to Help Them Serve Customers Better and Enjoy Their Jobs More
 
You’ve all been reading my newsletters long enough, so you know how much I advocate getting feedback from your customers whenever possible.
 
The same holds true for your staff.  You need to find out what it is that they need or would like that would help them serve customers better and give them more reason to like their jobs.
Ask questions…. then LISTEN to the answers.
 
This is where you’ll discover what you team would like to take over, what would make them more efficient, what processes don’t work, are redundant, or simply make life too complicated.
 
You’ll also find ways to reward your teams.  One of my clients found that their phone contact center liked the specialty coffee he sometimes brings in over the doughnuts that are more frequently offered.  So, this week he bought them a Keurig coffee maker with their favorite coffee flavors.  
 
Like any relationship, it’s the little things that count.  Pay attention to your staff.  You tell them to pay attention to customers… you need to do the same thing with them.  Your staff is just as important.

SHARE Your Ideal Customer Centric Vision with Your Teams

Continuing on with Customer Service Week, we are focusing on encouraging our internal teams to foster the customer centric attitudes and service.

 

 
Tip # 2 –  Share Your Vision with EVERYONE in your company.
 
It’s not a secret.  It needs to be shouted from the rooftops, okay training rooms and reception area, of your company.  You need to define your ideal customer experience and what it looks like from the customer perspective.  When you define it, then you need to share it with your teams so that everyone knows it, understands it, and embodies it.
It doesn’t matter if you are a “Mom and Pop” shop or a larger company, you must share your vision of exactly what your ideal Customer Experience looks like at all levels.  Your entry level positions should have the same vision as the CEO or owner of the company.
 
Ideally, you can share your vision with everyone during training on the very first day they begin working with you.  They’ll know immediately why your company is different and what their role is in making customers feel that difference.
That being said, sharing that vision must also be a continual process.  We all know that information shared once tends to be forgotten.  By keeping the vision of the ideal customer experience clear and present throughout the company, it will quickly become ingrained into your culture.
 
Leadership must interact regularly with teams, lead by example, discuss ideas and suggestions, and continually examine how the current state of the customer experience is moving toward the vision of the ideal.
It’s no accident that Disney, Ritz-Cartlon, Nordstrom, and Apple are known for exemplary customer experiences.  They have clearly defined that customer experience and how everyone plays into it.

Customer Service Week – 5 Tips in 5 Days!

The First of Five Tips for 
Customer Service Week
So I’m thinking that it’s wonderful to have Customer Service Week to encourage our teams to work in the best interest of the customer and improve our service delivery, but I have one question…
 
Why are we dedicating only ONE week per year to focus on Customer Service and the Customer Experience?
 
We should be doing this Each. And. Every. Week. All. Year. Long.
 
Tip #1 –  Communication is a Two Way Street
We know that customer relationships are built on trust and communication.  The same holds true for your internal teams.
 
You need to be sure that you are in touch with your teams and understand what they see as an opportunity and where they are facing challenges.
 
I’m a big fan of huddles.  Huddles are something that football teams do before a play.  Business leaders need to huddle either as a team or one-on-one with their team players to discover what they need to know and how to encourage and set them up for success.
 
The huddle is also a fantastic time for leaders to be open to ideas and suggestions from their teams.  After all, they are most likely spending more time interacting with customers than the leader is.
Customer Service Skills – Do You Train Well Enough?
70% of consumers stop doing business with a company because they aren’t feeling valued or that the company doesn’t engage with them.
If you lost one customer each week, what would that mean to your bottom line?
To help you, during Customer Service Week, I’m reducing the fee for my “Training for the Best Customer Service Skills – Start to Finish”  .  You’ll still get all of the benefits and modules, but because you are in my community, you get the reward of a special price!
Many of you have already invested in this training for your teams and have responded with great results and stories.
Take action now to be sure that your efforts during Customer Service Week don’t fall prey to the “All Talk – No Action” pitfall that plagues so many companies today.

The Best Customer Experience Begins with Customer Service Training – Part One

As a business coach for companies, both large and small, that want to deliver a customer service experience to bring in more money from their customers, I’m often asked “Where do I begin?”

It’s just like eating an elephant… One step at a time.

Successful companies follow seven systematic steps when

1.  Developing a complete training game plan – Before you start on a cross country road trip from New York to Los Angeles, you would make sure that you have a sound stable vehicle to get you there, you’d map out a route, plan how long you’d like to travel each day, approximately where you will lodge for the night along the way, etc.  The same thing applies here.  There must be a guideline mapped out detailing when the training process will start, who will be involved, what will be covered, approximately when it will be complete, etc.

2.  Onboard for successful fit and service assimilation – The way you bring new hires into your company sets the tone for their training experience and subsequent service.  You must think start to finish in this process.  Welcome them into your organization as a valued member of the team.  Show them how important they and their role is in the overall vision of the customer experience.

3. Set clear and specific service expectations – This is one of the areas that many business leaders complain about the most, yet this is the one area I feel is most neglected.  When you are training someone as to how you’d like them to treat your customers, you MUST be specifically clear.  “Be Nice” is too general  Nice means different things to different people and is never consistent.  You need to spell out how you’d like your team to engage with your customers at each and every touchpoint and exactly how they can best serve the customer.

4. Have an accountability system for service expectations – Once you’ve set and trained for your customer service expectations, you need to have an accountability system in place.  By not following through on this one step, it sends the message to your team that either your leadership skills aren’t honed enough to follow through on expectations or that the service you deliver to your customers is not really that important.

5. Assess customer service levels from the customer perspective – Feedback from customers and the rest of the team regarding service levels is invaluable.  You can work this into other feedback or survey methods to gain insight as to how your team is treating customers when leadership isn’t around.  The goal is to have customers come to rely on consistent service levels for them to build a sense of trust and relationship with your company.

6. Last impression counts just as much as the first – While you’ve heard the saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” you can actually make as much of an impact, if not more, by focusing on how you bid your customers farewell.  You can say “goodbye” while making sure that you thank them, invite them to come back soon, and by telling them you truly value their business.  Train your teams on how to do this well and you’ll soon be cultivating an extremely loyal customer base.

7. Implement systematic continual customer focus processes into your design – Again, the “shot in the arm” solution rarely works in any business aspect, especially in service.  You know how it goes… everyone gets all exited after a fantastic customer service or experience presentation, but then after a while, it becomes business as usual.  To make sure this doesn’t happen in your group, place the customer focus as a top priority at the beginning of every meeting, every decision, every new idea.  Do this long enough and your customers will soon learn and sense that you truly value their business.

To discover how all of these steps truly fit together to benefit your customers, I’m making my last webinar available here for your review.  This webinar received fantastic reviews from the attendees and I gave so much valuable information that I wanted to make sure it’s available to everyone.

Please comment below on which of these steps you struggle with the most and let me know how I may help.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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